In March, Tim DeChristopher was convicted on two felony counts for disrupting an oil lease auction at the end of the Bush administration. Today, “barring any further delays, he will face a sentence of up to 10 years behind bars — even though Obama Interior Secretary Ken Salazar cancelled the bids before DeChristopher was even charged.”
President Obama’s Department of Justice has relentlessly pursued putting DeChristopher into prison. In contrast, no charges have been brought up against BP or Massey Energy for their deadly catastrophes in April 2010, which collectively killed 40 Americans, in addition to the environmental damage done. Nor have any charges been brought against the financial companies which caused a global economic meltdown through their unlimited greed. Public Citizen responds:
While the actions of major corporations like Massey Energy and BP have led to vast environmental damages, safety hazards and even deaths, these companies never seem to get the punishment they deserve. When compared to the leniency afforded corporate polluters, his potential sentence seems unreasonably severe.
Noting that DeChristopher acted because of the global warming pollution the oil lease sale would unleash, Bill McKibben warns that the federal government’s prosecutorial zeal is creating a martyr:
The last year was the warmest in human history. Just last week new studies showed that with that heat came the most extreme weather ever measured, a spate of floods and droughts biblical in scope and power. DeChristopher is proving prophetic, and sticking prophets in jail does not rob them of their power.
McKibben is organizing weeks of climate civil disobedience aimed at the president, beginning Aug. 20.